PANAJI: The decline in tourist footfalls in the coastal state has become a worrisome situation for stakeholders, as tourism is their bread and butter. They blame the authorities for not checking ‘open defecation’ on the beaches and the harassment of tourists by vendors.
John Lobo, General Secretary of the Shack Owners Welfare Society, said that there is a drop in tourists this year and hence the government should find out the reasons.
“Compared to last year, this year there is a decline in the arrival of foreign tourists. The government should immediately convene a meeting with all stakeholders and should find out the reasons. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant should chair this meeting and address the issues,” Lobo ,from North Goa, said.
“Tourists hesitate to visit beach areas as in some places of this belt open defecation is seen. Who do this… they are those who come to Goa and stay along the roadside, on beaches, cook their own food and then defecate on the beaches. These things are taking place and should be stopped, else tourists will not visit the beaches,” Lobo said, adding that this could be one reason for the drop in tourists.
“Rules should be made that tourists while arriving in Goa should show where they will stay or where they have booked their accommodation. Otherwise staying along the roadside and then defecating in the open will take place,” Lobo said.
He also said that vendors selling key chains and other items on the beaches harass tourists forcing them to purchase their articles. “There should be a check on such incidents and they should be stopped from harassing tourists,” he said.
A hotelier from South Goa said that tourists who come on a low budget stay on the roadside and on the beaches. “It is true that such tourists defecate in the open. Where will they go to answer nature’s call when they have no accommodation,” he said.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) President Nilesh Shah, said that Goa could become the national capital of tourism, provided more facilities are created and the tout menace is eradicated.
“We need to give better facilities to the tourists coming to Goa. When we speak of promoting eco-tourism or hinterland tourism we need to have ‘app’ based taxi services so the tourist can avail of reasonable prices. It is the need of the hour,” he said.
Speaking about the tout menace, Shah said they are found not only on the beaches but even in the capital city Panaji and other places where tourism activities take place. “They spoil the name of Goa. Action should be taken against them and the ‘dadagiri’ they do,” Shah stated.
Shah said charter flights have started to arrive in Goa and the tourist season is peaking. “Compared to last year it was a bit slow, but it seems it will peak now,” Shah added.
He said that the tourists should go back home with good memories, only then will they come again. “We want tourists who behave well and know their responsibility when they arrive here,” he said.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had recently expressed confidence that Goa can become the country’s tourism capital, but tourism stakeholders are of the opinion that more infrastructure should be created.